Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rage Against The 5k (Race Recap)

(nods to OUAL's rage against the electrician).   
Alternative title:  the longest short race ever. 

Ah yes...the 5k.  The race I love to love....
I've made no secret of wanting to break 20 in the 5k.  It would be a dream some true.  However, in full disclosure, my recent workouts told me I wasn't quite there.  I figured I'd sign up for a 5k before Eugene training started to see if I could knock time off my PR.  Here's the one I did:

Race Day
I woke up at 5:30AM and cursed out the alarm.  I ate some mango chunks and had coffee with almond milk.  Almond milk has been the best HLB discovery simply because I can't drink normal milk (I drink a ton of milk usually) before I run (I get pukeworthy sick) and now I can drink this stuff before instead...

Drove up to Playa Del Rey and was surprisingly early.  Usually I am the world's latest person for races but there was no traffic so I ended up just hanging out for a while.  I warmed up and realized that I felt pretty terrible.  I had a bit of a headache, felt tired, and my legs felt heavy.  And just like Shakira's hips don't lie, my race legs don't lie.

I went up to the start, and only one other girl was there.  She was in an old school track outfit and giant Nike shoes.  Girl was running striders for like 30 minutes.  But she ended up finishing ahead of me, so clearly she's doing something right.

Finally, it was time to go.  The course wasn't chip timed, which was sort of disappointing, but it's not like 1-2 seconds are keeping me out of an Olympic Trials qualifier, so I guess it's ok.   I asked some guy next to me what he was aiming for and he said a 19:45.  I told him I wanted to sub-20 but it had never happened before, so the odds of it happening today were pretty low.  ( confidence was pretty low ;-). )

I try to break up my races into chunks in my head because it helps me to get through them, mentally.  I planned it as follows:  First Half Mile:  Settle In.  Miles .5-1.5:  Fast but controlled.  Miles 1.5-2.5:  Focus like a mad woman.  Keep stride fast.  Miles 2.5-3.1:  Run like your life depends on it.

Here's how it turned out in reality:

Sorry, no pics, but this is the jist ;-). 
Mile 1: 6:17
Thoughts:  Keep it right around, that was 6:17?  Maybe you will sub-20!  Thank god I passed that woman pushing the stroller.

Mile 2: 6:46
Thoughts:  WHY ARE YOU SLOWING DOWN, Slowass????  My lungs are burning!
I was running alone most of the race from mile two.  It was mentally tough. 

Mile 3: 6:35
Thoughts:  Gut it out, Gut it out, Gut it out.  Lung still burning.
Some lady and her family were about to cross the path right in front of me and I yelled "track".  Guess the impatient track runner in me will never die.   =)

Total Race Time:  20:26, 4th Woman. 

Thoughts:  This was a 13 second PR, and it's hard to pick apart a PR.  It's good to be south of 20:30 and I'm proud of myself for running a decent race when I didn't feel "on".  It's frustrating, because I think on a good day, I could have done better, but on Saturday (judging by how tired I was the rest of the day), I'm pretty sure that was my best.  And sometimes your best just ain't good enough for your lofty expectations!

Guess I'll just have to run some more of these godforsaken 5ks!  
Margot "Sub-20 One Day" FasterBunny

Thursday, January 26, 2012

State of the Shoe-nion Address

First things:  Aspaeris shorts is having a 50% sale with the coupon code "cooleronline".  Aspaeris is helping to sponsor our Ragnar Team and offering a pretty sweet discount with this code, so we're spreading the word about their fantastic product.  I recover at the pace of a snail, so I'm pumped to have their product to help.
Here's the press release! 

Second Things:
Heather tagged me in a post where I answer questions about myself!  Here's the link to the answers!  I didn't tag anyone, but if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged ;-).

Main Post:  State of the Shoe-ion

Forget diamonds.

Shoes are most definitely a girl's best friend.  Running shoes specifically.  My heart skips a beat when I'm at a shoe store.  I probably own more running shoes than normal ones (A stability shoe, a lightweight trainer, and a racer along with many many others in retirement that are waiting to go to that big shoe heaven in the sky (Goodwill)).  There have been a lot of trends in running shoes lately, which is probably making me want to buy even more models so I can run with all the new features.

But do I really need all of these new bells and whistles?   Will racers make me faster? (yes. marginally.)  If I tried running barefoot will everyone think I'm weird?  (probably.) What's up with the minimalistic shoes?

Here are my thoughts regarding some of the running shoe trends.

Trend 1:  Barefoot Running.
Thoughts:  Dislike.  Honestly, I think this is gross.  Although I guess it's less gross if you wear the Five Finger shoes rather than being completely barefoot.  Also, it seems like a quick way to get injured.  One could make the argument that people weren't meant to wear shoes, but honestly, I don't think people were built to be long distance runners either.  There were probably very few times in the cave-man days when running a 5 mile tempo would have been necessary.

Trend 2:  Light/Low Heel Drop Shoes. 
Thoughts:  Kind of torn on this trend.  Running in lighter shoes feels awesome.  And a shoe that makes your stride more efficient is awesome too.  I just think that runners (especially those increasing mileage) should be careful to get the right shoe for their stride.
Heavier Shoe > Injury Due to Unsupportive Shoe. 

Trend 3: Really Bright Shoes
Thoughts:  LOVE!  I experienced my first injury at age 16 because I am an overpronator and bought neutral shoes because they were bright yellow.  So this trend of having a wide selection of bright shoes is quite exciting.  I understand if bright shoes aren't your thing, but I'll just assume you are zero fun.  At all.
Fun Colored Shoes = Fun Life. 

As much fun as it is talking about running shoes, I've also gotta get some of my thoughts on normal shoes off my chest.  

Trend 1:  Chunky Lady Gaga Shoes
Thoughts:  WTF y'all?  Can someone enlighten me as to why these super clunky high heeled monstrosities are so popular?  I work in online retail, so I know for a fact they are is one of the great world issues that keeps me up at night.  Please explain ASAP.

Trend 2:  Over The Knee Boots.
Thoughts:  I don't care how covered up one is when they are worn, I still think they make people look like hookers.  But maybe that's the point?  Kids these days...

Trend 3:  Men in cowboy boots and jeans.  
Thoughts:  Ok this isn't a trend.  It's here to stay (probably only if you live in Texas. Which I don't.).  Whoever said that people weren't meant to wear shoes clearly has never seen a good looking man rocking jeans and boots.  Why this style hasn't spread beyond Texas is really beyond me.  See "Tim Riggins" in Friday Night Lights for reference.

Any shoe trends (running or otherwise) you're loving or hating these days?  

Any you're curious to try? 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How Long Is Your Marathon?

A couple items to take care of:

1) Team Gab.  Heather is having a virtual race where you contribute to pediatric cancer research, participate in a virtual race, and possibly win cool prizes.  I'm no genius, but this feels like a no-lose situation.  Enter it.

2) Jenny, Tasha, ~K~, Cait, and Alex ALL got the top three at the Olympic Trials right!  Not bad...not bad...
Sadly, there can only be one winner.  Yes, I am mean.  So in order of their entry, Alex, #5 is the winner!  (Alex, I have no idea who you are, so email me within one week to claim the prize)

Main Post:  What's up with the  marathon

I remember during my high school track days how I'd look enviously at the 400 meter runners sprinting around the track.  I wished I was one of them.  I wished I had their foot speed and athletic talent.  But I was someone who ran arguably the most boring athletic event in high school sports:  The Girls 3200 Meter Run.  (I think anyone else who ran the 3200m can relate to the uncoolness of this event)

Ever since then, I've felt like it took more talent to master a shorter race than to slog through a long one.  For me, it's easier to endure than to excel.  A shorter race in the adult world of road racing is a 5k.  And oddly, the 5k has become the "beginners race".

Races all over with multiple events advertise with "Not ready for the half marathon?  Try our 5k!"  

The world is obsessed with marathons.  People want to talk about marathons even if you're not running one.
If anyone ever finds out I'm a runner, inevitably one of the first questions out of their mouth is "Do you like to run marathons?"  "How many marathons have you run?".
Or the best question of all: "How long is that marathon you're running?  Is it a 5k-marathon?"  (oh dear)

And this marathon explosion isn't just hyperbole.  Take a look at these stats.  Half a million marathon finishers!

Sure, other distances of road racing are growing too, but the whole and the half have become the hallmark of road racing.  It's like you're not a serious runner if you aren't running a ridiculously long distance.  

I wonder why this is.
Is it more fun to run 20 miles on a weekend than run speed workouts?  Is it more impressive to finish a slow marathon than to run a short race where you gave it all you had?   Is it the rush of having burned an absurd amount of calories?  Do people love getting overuse injuries?  Is it that a lot of people bucket-list the marathon these days?  (honestly I find no one more annoying than the bucket-listers.).
Or is there a joy to the full marathon that I have still yet to experience?  (I'm planning to run two this year, but I am still not the hugest fan of this distance.)

Maybe I'm missing something, but I have the same respect for anyone who gets out there and gives a race all they have, whether it's a mile or 26.  All the distances are awesome.  And the milers will be able to walk the next day....maybe they are on to something....

(what is your favorite distance?  Do you have a lot of love for the 5k like me?)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Olympic Trials AMEX Giveaway (LETS GET READY TO GAMBLE)

I am ridiculously excited for the marathon Olympic Trials this Saturday in Houston!  We get to see the best American women race for a ticket to London!  While I won't be cowbelling my face off like this girl and this girl you better believe I'm going to be up early following the race.

In addition to loving Track and Field, I also love to gamble.  And do you!  Because I'm giving away a $25 AMEX gift card (AND two tubes of Grape Nuun) to whoever comes closest to predicting the top three! 
 (Yes, I'm buying this gift card on my own.  I'm that excited about this).  

The Point Structure:  Predicting winner = 10 pts, Predicting 2nd place = 8 points, Predicting 3rd place = 6 points.  Getting athlete in top three but not correct place = 2 points.   

How To:  Just comment your top 3 or email me.  No, you don't have to follow or tweet, but let's be honest, tweeting about it would be cool so more than the 2 people who read my blog enter.  

Athlete Guide: 

The Big Three

Desiree Davila
Age: 28
PRs:  2:22:38 (marathon), 15:08 (5000m), 31:37 (10,000m)
Nicknames: Desi Does it.  "Keep your eyes up".  She'll beat you and you'll like it. 
Runners World Odds: 7-5

Shalane Flanagan
Age: 30
PRs: 2:28:40 (marathon), 30:34 (10,000m),  5,000m - 14:44.
Nicknames: Blonde lightning, If there's a record, she'll set it.
Runners World Odds: 2-1

Kara Goucher 
Age: 33
PRs: 2:24:26 (marathon), 1:06:57 (half marathon), 30:55 (10,000m)
Nicknames: America's Sweetheart.  Arm sleeve trend starter.  Mother of super baby, Colt.
Runners World Odds: 3-1

The Veterans 

Magdalena Lewy Boulet
Age: 38
PRs: 2:26:22 (marathon), 31:48 (10,000m)
Nicknames:  Beijing's revenge.  From Berkeley to London.
Runners World Odds: 5-1

Colleen De Reuck 
Age: 47 (holy cow)
PRs:  2:30:51 (qualifying), 2:26:35 (PR marathon).  1:10:50 (half marathon)
Nicknames:  Slamdancing with Grandma.  "Outa my way, kids.  Let me show you how it's done".
Runners World Odds: 20-1

Blake Russell
Age: 36
PRs: 31:35.25 (10,000m), 2:30:32 (marathon)
Nicknames:  One badass momma! 
No Runners World Odds.  My Odds:  25-1

Deena Kastor
Age: 38
PRs:  2:19:37 (marathon), half marathon (1:07:34)
Nicknames:  Smallest human ever.  Fastest human ever.
Runners World Odds: 8-1

Don't forget about these powerhouses...

Tera Moody (*Just in, Tera Moody has declared she won't start - 1-12-2012)
Age: 31
PRs:  2:30:53 (marathon)
Nicknames:  Treadmill Lover.  Tera you apart! (hah. hah.) 

Runners World Odds: 15-1

Janet Cherobon-Bawcom
Age: 33
PRs: Half-Marathon, 1:10:59 (2010); Marathon, 2:37:27 (2008)
Nicknames: Terrific Two Timer (Ran a half in 1:11:58 and a 10k the next day in 32:47)

No Runners World Odds.  My Odds: 25-1
Stephanie Rothstein 
Age: 28
PRs:  2:29:35 (marathon)
Nicknames:  The Wheat Free Wonder (she has celiacs!).
Runners World Odds: 10-1

You Dang Kids!

Clara Grandt
Age: 24
PRs 2:29:54 (marathon) 1:13 (half marathon)
Nicknames:  West Virginia Mountain Mama.  (I love this girl.  I randomly emailed her after Boston to congratulate (creepy much?) and she super sweetly replied).
Runners World Odds: 15-1

Amy Hastings
Age: 27
Qualifying Time: 2:27:03 (marathon), 1:11:19 (half marathon)
Nicknames:  Little Deena, So. Cal's finest.
Runners World Odds: 7-1

Molly Pritz
Age: 23 (I think?)
PRs:  2:31:52 (marathon), 1:11:05 (half marathon)
Nicknames:  The speedy geologist.  Just out of school, about to school you. 
No Runners Worlds Odds.  My Odds: 20-1

Honorable Mention:  Katie McGregor, Dot McMahan, Ilsa Paulson, Serena Burla, Emily Harrison, Jennifer Houck, Melissa White, Paige Higgins, Zoila Gomez, Kristen Nicolini 

* Thank you to the billions of running sites I didn't credit that I stole pictures and info off of. 

What awesome women do you think are on their way to London?? (my picks are 1) Shalane, 2) Desi, and 3) Molly Pritz (my fave dark horse))

Saturday, January 7, 2012

This Is Not A Love Song

I was flipping through my book of scratched cds this week and found one of my old favorites.

It's a cd I made a few years back after my then boyfriend broke up with me.  (It's the opposite of a lovey mix tape made to show someone you care.  Or to accidentally freak them out, you know...whatever....) 

That day, numb from rejection, I decided that every minute I spent caring about that jerkface would be time wasted.  Time I could be spending doing stuff I liked much better.  So I did what any girl in my situation would do.  I Googled for "Screw You Break Up Songs".

I may have also Googled stuff like "how to make your ex totally jealous"....but hey, who is reading for accuracy here...

Next, I scoured these websites built by my new heartbroken internet friends, burned the perfect cd, and went for a 2 hour car ride.

I drove down the highway playing Cake's version of I Will Survive yelling things like "Oh now go...walk out the door. Just turn around, you're not welcome anymore", while shaking my head sassily.

listen now if you never have.  and get sassy.

Did it help?  Hell yes it did!  It was fantastic.  I don't want to say that I wasn't sad after that drive, but there was something magical about blasting that collection of songs.  Even better than some friend telling me "'re so much BETTER THAN HIM.  I always thought he was ugly anyways....YEAH!"

The great thing about breakup songs is that there is hope for us all.  There are songs like this in every genre.  So no matter what kind of music you like, you can rock out.   Everyone from Justin Timberlake to Brad Paisley to the Nine Inch Nails has fab breakup songs.   (Don't tell me you can't get down to "Cry Me a River", because I will call you a bold faced liar.)

The conclusion of the story?  There really isn't one.  I eventually got over the relationship and moved on, and life went back to normal.  Pretty undramatic.   And I found a much better boyfriend who doesn't make me resort to blasting Cake for hours.  But the next time any minor tragedy strikes, you better believe I'll be making a new compilation and driving down I-5 blasting it.

Anyone else done anything similar during a breakup? Tell me about it and make me feel less silly for writing this post.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011, you done me good.

Remember when every blogger did a "year in recap" post?  
Well...sorry folks, no originality here!  I'm abouts to do it too! was a pretty great year, fitness-wise.  And a fairly ordinary year otherwise.  
In the Fall of 2010, I was pretty much in the running dark ages.  I was running 4 miles a day in some Sketchers Shape Ups that I got for free.  Um yeah....

And then...2011 happened.  2011: The year, I started giving a crap!  
Here's the year in digital:

January (no excuses)

February (when I became a stalker)

March (blogtastic.  the birth of the faster bunny).

Yeah...I get that you've seen this picture a billion times.  It's the only good one I have! :)

May (when I started realizing 800m workouts don't work for long races)

June (I made freaking hood to coast)

July (The time I was in a diet coke twitter promotion...still baffled how this happened)

August (the time I ran HTC for Nuun and peaked in life forever)

September (then I hit a new low DNF'ing in a 5k)

October (...and then crashed my bike and became "unrunable")

November (But it's cool because I took the best picture ever at RNR LA)
and did a duathlon....
December (ran a pretty sweet half marathon)

(and retained my fabulous form....)

So what's next?  
I'm running the Eugene Marathon and probably NYC if I can stomach their ridiculous prices.  
I'm doing a Ragnar Relay.
I'd love to do an Olympic Tri. 
I wanna run a fast 5k. 

No guarantees though, life is unpredictable ;-).  Here's to an awesome and completely unexpected 2012!